Situated on the coastal belt of the East Coast of South Africa and less than an hour’s drive from Durban, the quaint seaside village of Pennington is home to Botha House. The former Prime Minister of South Africa, Louis Botha, instantly fell in love with the area and set about building a holiday home for his beloved wife Annie.
He is quoted as asking Sir Frank Reynolds, a sugar cane baron in the area: “Could you find me two or three acres here, I would like to put up a small cottage for Annie”. An excerpt from Sir Frank’s diary on 24th June 1918 reads: “and so the foundations have begun.” Today this exquisite enormous stately home is a guest lodge and is open to the public. Visitors to the region can unwind at this relaxing retreat that overlooks the warm Indian Ocean and reflects a bygone era.
The area has always been a popular holiday destination and Durbanites themselves often leave the dust and grime of city living and travel to the area for weekend getaways. The appeal of the region is not surprising, as this picturesque sub-tropical belt with temperate climate has undergone modest but adequate infrastructural transformation, without compromising the natural beauty and tranquillity of the area.
For many years Pennington has appealed to retirees and has become a retirement Mecca, particularly with upcountry buyers if recent property reports are anything to go by. Property development in recent years has been geared towards catering for demand in this sector of the market and estate agents in both Pennington and the surrounding areas have reaped the rewards from this lucrative segment of the property market.
The area was named after an English family by the name of Pennington, who were farmers in the district in the late 19th century. Not much has changed and although there is a bustling tourist industry in the area, the locale is still surrounded by sugar cane estates and dairy farms.
Property statistics released by Lightstone reveal that a total of 47 property transfers have taken place in the area in the last 12 months. The average price paid for a freehold property was R854 000 while the average price for a sectional title unit was R1.54m. Market stock indictors reveal that over 70% of the property sold in the neighbourhood fell into the freehold sector of the market. In keeping with reports indicative of popular retiree trends, 43.18% of recent sellers were over the age of 65, and recent buyers between the ages of 50-64 years of age made up 46.65% of the buying population for the same period.
The Village Mall in the town caters for essential needs such as a chemist, post office and supermarket, however, the Galleria Shopping Mall, a large shopping centre in nearby Amanzimtoti is a mere 15 to 20 minute drive from the village.
It appears that Louis Botha really did understand the importance of choosing the right holiday spot and with its pristine beaches, an abundance of rock pools, fishing spots and laid-back family atmosphere, it is little wonder that Pennington was the first choice of one of South Africa’s premier historical leaders.